British prisoners 'to be released'

"No-one, perhaps apart from the prime minister, is as anxious as I am to see the position resolved." -- Lord Goldsmith, UK Attorney General

LONDON - 01/11/05 - Four British men, who have been unlawfully held by the Bush administration, are set to be freed after nearly three years of captivity at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Moazzam Begg, Martin Mubanga, Richard Belmar and Feroz Abbasi have been detained by U.S. authorities in connection with America's global war-on-terror.

Foreign secretary Jack Straw will make a Commons statement Tuesday and it is widely expected that he will announce details of their release.

'Number 10'—a term used to refer to the British Prime Minister's office—actually the address on Downing Street in London where he has his home and office, indicated that discussions with Washington on the men's fate had reached a critical point.

"Discussions have been continuing with the U.S. authorities for some time," said the prime minister's spokesman.

"When they are brought to their conclusion it is right for the foreign secretary to make a statement."

Downing Street said consideration had been given to the high security status of the four prisoners and the need to strike a balance between security and their liberty.

Upon arrival in the UK, the four men will be questioned by British police, before being released to their families.

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